:"For a town in Bareilly District, India see Shahi, Uttar Pradesh."
thumb|350px| Coin of Shahi Kings of Kabul & Gandhara : Spalapati Deva, circa 750 AD -900 AD.">
Obv: Recumbent bull facing left, trishula on bulls rump, Devnagari Legends : Sri Spalapati Deva. Rev: Rider bearing lance on caparisoned horse facing right.

thumb|350px| Coin of Shahi Kings of Kabul & Gandhara : Samanta Deva, circa 850 AD -1000 AD.">
Obv: Rider bearing lance on caparisoned horse facing right.Devnagari Legends : 'bhi '?.Rev:Recumbent bull facing left, trishula on bulls rump, Devnagari Legends : Sri Samanta Deva.
The Shahi (Devanagari शाही) [ as in: Rajatarangini, IV, 140-43, Kalahana.] , Sahi [ as in inscriptions: See: Hindu Sahis of Afghanistan and the Punjab, 1972, p 111, Yogendra Mishra.] , also called Shahiya [ as in: Tarikh-al-Hind, trans. E. C. Sachau, 1888/1910, vol ii, pp 10, Abu Rihan Alberuni; Sehrai, Fidaullah (1979). Hund: "The Forgotten City of Gandhara", p. 1. Peshawar Museum Publications New Series, Peshawar.] "Shahi Family." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 16 Oct. 2006 [] .] dynasties ruled portions of the Kabul Valley (in eastern Afghanistan) and the old province of Gandhara (northern Pakistan and Kashmir) from the decline of the Kushan Empire in third century to the early ninth century . The kingdom was known as Kabul-shahan or Ratbel-shahan from (565 - 670 CE) when they had their capitals in Kapisa and Kabul, and later "Udabhandapura" (also known as Hund) [Sehrai, Fidaullah (1979). Hund: "The Forgotten City of Gandhara", p. 2. Peshawar Museum Publications New Series, Peshawar.] for its new capital. "In ancient time, the title Shahi appears to be a quite popular royal title in Afghanistan and north-western province of Indo-Pakistan Sub-continent". It has been used by Achaemenids [Darius used titles like "Kshayathiya, Kshayathiya Kshayathiyanam" etc.] , Sakas [ Sakas used titles like "Sahi and Sahanusahi".] , Kushanas [The Kushanas used the grandiloquent title like "daivaputra-sahi.sahanu.sahi", "Shaonano shao" & "Shao".] , Hunas [The Hunas had the title " Shāhi" .] , Bactrians [Title "Shahi" appears on Indo-Bactrian coins.] , as also by the rulers of Kapisa/Kabul ["Shahi of Kalhana's Rajatrangini, Shahiya of Alberuni and Sahi of the inscriptions".] as well as of Gilgit etc [ The Shahi Afghanistan and Punjab, 1973, pp 1, 45-46, 48, 80, Dr D. B. Pandey; The Śakas in India and Their Impact on Indian Life and Culture, 1976, p 80, Vishwa Mitra Mohan - Indo-Scythians; Country, Culture and Political life in early and medieval India, 2004, p 34, Daud Ali.] . In Persian form, the title appears as "Kshathiya, Kshathiya Kshathiyanam", -Shao of the Kushanas and the "Ssaha" of Mihirakula (Huna chief) [ Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, 1954, pp 112 ff; The Shahis of Afghanistan and Punjab, 1973, p 46, Dr D. B. Pandey; The Śakas in India and Their Impact on Indian Life and Culture, 1976, p 80, Vishwa Mitra Mohan - Indo-Scythians.] . The Kushanas are stated to have adopted the title "Shah-in-shahi" ("Shaonano shao") in imitation of Achaemenid practice [India, A History, 2001, p 203, John Keay.] . Ancient Jaina work "Kalakacarya-kathanaka " says that the rulers of the Sakas who had invaded Ujjaini/Malwa in 62 BCE also wore the titles of "Sahi" and "Sahnusahi" [J.B.B.R.A.S., 139ff; J.B.O.R.S, xvi, 233, 293;; Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 383, Dr H. C. Raychaudhury; Zeitschrif0 der Deutschen Morgenlandischen Gesellschaft 34, pp 247ff, 262; Indiana Antiquary, X, 222; Jaina Journal, V-22, 1987-88, p 107; The Śakas in India, 1981, p 23, Satya Shrava; Mālwa in Post-Maurya Period; 1981, 41, Manika Chakrabarti - Malwa (Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, India).] . Since the title "Shahi" was used by the rulers of "Kapisa/Kabul or Gandhara" also in imitation of Kushana "Shao", it has been speculated by some writers that the Shahi dynasty of Kapisa/Kabul or Gandhara was a "foreign dynasty" and had descended from the Kushans or Turks ("Turushkas"). However, the title has been used by several rulers irrespective of any racial connotations and this may refute the above speculation. The Shahis of Kabul/Gandhara are generally split up into two eras -- the so-called Buddhist Turk-Shahis and the so-called Hindu-Shahis, with the change-over thought to have occurred sometime around 870 AD.

On the lineage of Shahis

The affinities of the earlier Shahi rulers of Kapisa/Kabul who are believed to have probably ruled from early 5th century till 870 AD are still not clear. The confused accounts of 11th century Persian Muslim scholar Alberuni, ("which bear the impress of folklore for the early history of the Kabul Shahi rulers"") [The Pathans, 1958, p 108, 109, Olaf Caroe.] [Cf: That the first dynasty of Kabul was Turki is plainly based on the vulgar tradition which Alberuni himself remarked was clearly absurd. The Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang knew well enough what a Turk was since he had come to Kabul through their country..... Against the contemporary evidence of Hiuen Tsang, an absurd tradition related by Alberuni after 400 years and with evident reluctance and disbelief in it cannot, therefore, be taken for history.....Hiuen Tsang clearly addresses the ruler of Kapisa/Kabul, whom he had personally met, as devout Buddhist and a Kshatriya and not a Tu-kiue/Tu-kue (Turk) (Ref: History of Mediaeval Hindu India, 1979, p 200, Chintaman Vinayak Vaidya.] state that: "
* Hindu kings residing in Kabul were Turks
* they were said to be of Tibetan origin
* first of them was a Barahatakin, (founder of the dynasty) who came (from Tibet) into the country (Kabul), entered a cave and after few days, started to creep out of it in the presence of people who looked upon him as a "new born baby", clothed in Turkish dress. People honored him as a being of miraculous birth, destined to be a king. And he brought those countries under his sway and ruled under the title of "Shahiya of Kabul"
* the rule remained among his descendants the number of which is said to be about sixty generations till it was supplanted by a Brahmana minister and
* in this series of his descendant rulers, one was Kanik (Kanishaka?) who is said to have built Vihara in Purushapura which is called Kanika Caitya" [ Tarikh-al-Hind, trans. E. C. Sachau, 1888/1910, vol ii, pp 10-14, Abu Rihan Alberuni.] [ It is interesting to note that the folklore accounts recorded by Alberuni connect the earlier Shahis of Kabul/Kapisa to Turkish extraction and also claim their descent from Kanik (or Kanishaka of Kushana lineage).

At the same time it is also claimed that 'their first king Barahatigin (Vrahitigin?) had originally came from TIBET and concealed in a narrow cave in Kabul area (and here is given a strange legend which we omit). One can easily see the above account of Shahi origin as totally fanciful and fairy-like tale. These statements taken together are very confusing, inconsistent and bear the express marks of a folklore and vulgar tradition, hence unworthy of inspiring any confidence in the early history of Shahis.

Barhatigin is said to be the founder of the dynasty which is said to have ruled for 60 generations until 870 AD. This, if true, would take Barahatigin, the founder of the early Shahi dynasty to about 20X60 = 1200 years i.e to about fourth century BCE if we take the average generation of 20 years; and to seventh century BCE if average generation is taken as 25 years. It is well neigh impossible that a single dynasty could have ruled for 1200 (or 1500 ) years at a stretch. Moreover, king Kanik (if Kanishaka) who ruled (78 AD to 101 AD) not over Kabul but over Purushapura/Gandhara and his descendants could not have ruled for almost 900 years as a single dynasty over Kapisa/Kabul especially in a fronter region called the gateway of India.

Based on fragmentary evidence of coins, there seems to be one king named Vrahitigin (Barhatigin?) who belonged to Sixth or Seventh century AD, rather than pre-Christian times as Alberuni's accounts would tend to establish. If Kanik is same as Kanishaka of Kushana race as is often claimed, then the second claim that the ancestors of the early Shahis came from Tibet ("which incidentally is the Kamboja-desa of the Nepali Traditions") becomes incompatible to known facts of history.

It is very interesting that Alberuni calls the early Shahi rulers as Turks which however should be interpreted as Turkised rather than Turkic.] ["The view that Nepali Traditions apply name Kamboja Desha to Tibet is based on the statement made by Foucher (Ref: Étude sur l'Iconographie bouddhique de l'Inde, pp 134-135, A. Foucher) on the authority of Ranga Nath, Pandit to B.H. Hodgson. But it is also supported by two manuscripts [No 7768 & 7777] described in the Catalogue of Sanskrit and Prakrit Mss in the library of India Office Vol II, Part II" (Refs: History of Bebgal, I, 191, Dr R. C. Majumdar; Dist Gazeteer [Rajashahi] , 1915, p 26; Some Historical Aspects of the Inscriptions of Bengal, Dr B. C. Sen, p 342, fn 1.] .

Based on Alberuni's accounts, V. A. Smith speculates that the earlier Shahis were a cadet branch of the Kushanas who ruled both over Kabul and Gandhara until the rise of Saffarids. H. M. Elliot relates the early Kabul Shahis to the Kators and further connects the Kators with the Kushanas. Charles Fredrick Oldham also traces the Kabul Shahi lineage to the Kators-- whom he identifies with the Kathas or Takkhas-- Naga worshipping collective tribal groups of solar ("Sun-worshiping") lineage. He further speaks of the Urasas, Abhisaras, Daradas, Gandharas and Kambojas etc as allied tribal groups of the Takkhas belonging to the "Naga-worshipping" and "Sun-worshiping" race of the north-west frontiers [The Sun and the Serpent: A Contribution to the History of Serpent-worship, 1905, p 113-126, Charles Frederick Oldham - Serpent worship.] [Important Note: Urasa, Rajauri/Poonch and Abhisara were off-shoots of ancient Kamboja (See: Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 133, 219/220, Dr H. C. Raychaudhury, Dr B. N. Mukerjee; A History of India, p 269-71, N. R. Ray, N. K. Sinha; Journal of Indian History, 1921, P 304, University of Allahabad, Department of Modern Indian History, University of Kerala).] . D. B. Pandey traces the affinities of the early Kabul Shahis to the Hunas.

Bishan Singh and K. S. Dardi connect the Kabul Shahis to the ancient Ksatriya clans of the Kambojas/Gandharas. George Scott Robertson [The Kafirs of the Hindukush, 1896, pp 75-85; A Passage to Nurestan explaining the mystries of Afghan Hinterland, 2006, p 80, I. B. Tauris, Nicholars Barrington , Jojeph T. Kenderick, Reinhard Schlangitweit, Sardy Gall.] writes that the Kators/Katirs of Kafiristan belong to the well known "Siyaposh" tribal group of the Kams, Kamoz and Kamtoz tribes [The Káfirs of the Hindu-Kush, 1896, pp 71-77, George Scott Robertson - Nuristani (Asian people).] . Numerous scholars now also agree that the "Siyaposh" tribes of Hindukush are the modern representatives of the ancient Kambojas.

According to Olaf Caroe, "the earlier Kabul Shahis in some sense were the inheritors of the Kushana-Hephthalite chancery tradition and had brought in more hinduised form with time. There does not yet exist in the upper Kabul valley any documentary evidence or any identifiable coinage which can establish the exact affinities of these early Shahis who ruled there during the first two Islamic centuries" [ The Pathans, 1958, p 101, Olaf Caroe.] . Obviously, the affinities of the early Shahis of Kapisa/Kabul are still speculative, and the inheritance of the Kushan-Hephthalite chancery tradition and political institutions by Kabul Shahis do not necessarily connect them to the preceding dynasty i.e. the Kushanas or Hephthalites.

It appears that from start of 5th century till 793-94 AD, the capital of the Kabul Shahis was Kapisa. In the wake of Muslim invasions of Kabul and Kapisa in second half of seventh century (664 AD), the Kapisa/Kabul ruler called by Muslim writers as Kabul Shah ("Shahi of Kabul") made an appeal to the Ksatriyas of the Hind who had gathered there in large numbers for his assistance and drove out the Muslim invaders as far as Bost [The Sun and the Serpent: A Contribution to the History of Serpent-worship, 1905, p 126, Charles Frederick Oldham - Serpent worship.] . This king of Kapisa/Kabul who faced the Muslim invasion was undoubtedly a Ksatriya [ Comments Charles Frederick Oldham: "Whether this king of Kabul was same Ksatriya chief who had entertained Chinese pilgrim is uncertain; but he too must have been a Ksatriya, or the warriors (Ksatriyas) of Hind would have taken little notice of his appeal for assistance (Op cit, p 126, Charles Frederick Oldham.] [ NOTE: According to Persiacs-9, , in 7th century, the Kabol area (i.e Kabol, Kapisa, Lamghan etc) were the strong hold of the Indo-Iranians Kambojas whose influence extended as far as Archosia/Kandhahar (See: Early East Iran and Arthaveda, 1981, p 92 sqq, Dr Michael Witzel).] .

In subsequent years, the Muslim armies returned with large reinforcements and Kabul was swept when the Shahi ruler agreed to pay tribute to the conquerors. For strategical reasons, the Shahis, who continued to offer stubborn resistance to Muhammadan on-slaughts finally moved their capital from Kapisa to Kabul in about 794 AD. The fact that Chinese pilgrim Hieun Tsang (644 AD) specifically addresses the ruler of Kapisa as "Ksatriya" [Si-Yu-KI V1: Buddhist Records of the Western World, Edition 2006, p 54-55, Hiuen Tsiang; The Sun and the Serpent: A Contribution to the History of Serpent-worship, 1905, p 120, Charles Frederick Oldham - Serpent worship; The Shahis of Afghanistan and the Punjab, 1973, p 17, Deena Bandhu Pandey ; The History and Culture of the Indian People, 1977, p 165, Dr Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Dr A. D. Pusalkar - India.] and that of Zabul at this time being known as Shahi [The History and Culture of the Indian People, 1977, p 165, Dr Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Dr A. D. Pusalkar.] , casts serious doubt about the speculated connections of the first Shahis of Kabul/Kapisa to the Kushanas or the Hephthalites. Neither the Kushanas nor the Hunas/Hephthalites nor the Turks (or Turushakas) have ever been designated or classified as Ksatriyas in any ancient Indian tradition.

Therefore, the identification of the first line of Shahi kings of Kapisa/Kabul with the Kushanas, Hunas or Turks obviously seems to be in gross error [ History of Mediaeval Hindu India, 1979, p 200, Chintaman Vinayak Vaidya - India.] . Once the political clout of the invaders like the Kushanas or the Hephthalites had declined, some native chieftain from the original dominant clans of this region seeems to have attained ascendancy in political power and established an independent kingdom on the ruins of the Kushanas and/or the Hephthalites empire [

Commenting on the rise of Shahi dynasty in Kabul/Kapisa, Charles Frederick Oldham observes: "Kabulistan must have passed through many vicissitudes during the troublous times which followed the overthrow of the great Persian empire by the Alexander. It no doubt fell for a time under the sway of foreign rulers (Yavanas, Kushanas, Hunas etc). The great mass of the population, however, must have remained Hindu. And probably too, the native chiefs retained some shadow of authority, and asserted themselves when the opportunity arose.." (See: The Sun and the Serpent: A Contribution to the History of Serpent-worship, 1905, p 125, Charles Frederick). In other words, the author rightly claims that the Kabul Shahi dynasty had emerged not from the invaders like Kushanas/Hunas or the Turks but from the subordinate native chiefs of the local populations --which means from the original clans of the Gandharas/Kambojas etc who had asserted themselves as the opportunity became conducive and favorable on decline of foreign invaders' political influence.] .

The powerful evidence from Hiuen Tsang (644 AD) attesting that the ruler of Kabul/Kapisa was a "devout Buddhist" and belonged to "Ksatriya" caste would rather connect this ruling dynasty either to the erstwhile Gandharas or more probably to Ashvaka clan of the Kambojas, the eminent "Ksatriya" clan of the Mauryan times from this very region [For example: King Asoka's Rock Edicts at Shahbazgarhi and Mansehra lists the Kambojas among the Yonas and Gandharas as the most eminent clan of this region i.e Kabul/Kapisa/Swat.] [Even, as early as 424 AD, the prince of Kapisa ("Ki-pin of the Chinese") was known as Guna Varman (See: The Maha-Bodhi, p 181, Maha Bodhi Society, Calcutta - Buddhism; Ancient Indian History and Culture, 1974, p 149, Shripad Rama Sharma - India; Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, April, 1903, p 369, M Anesaki; The Sun and the Serpent: A Contribution to the History of Serpent-worship, 1905, p 125, Charles Frederick Oldham - Serpent worship).

It is important to note that the name ending "Varman" is used after the name of a Ksahriya only (See entry Varman in Monier Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary; See also entry Varman in: Cologne Digital Sanskrit English Dictionary). Thus the line of rulers whom Hiuen Tsang refers to in his chronicles appears to be an extension of the "Ksatriya" dynasty whom this Guna Varman of Ki-pin or Kapisa (424 AD) belonged. Thus this "Ksatriya" dynasty was already established prior to 424 AD and it was neither a Kushana nor a Hephthalite dynasty by any means.] [From the account of Guna Varman as referenced in Chinese Buddhist Records, it would seem that there were Hindu ("Ksatriya") kings in Kabul/Kapisa more than two centuries before Hiuen Tsang's arrival in 631 AD (644/45 in Kapis) when he found a "Ksatriya" king upon the throne (See: The Sun and the Serpent: A Contribution to the History of Serpent-worship, 1905, p 125, Charles Frederick).] .

Song Yun, the Chinese Ambassador to the Huna kingdom of Gandhara, in 520 AD writes that the Yethas ("Hephthalites") had invaded Gandhara two generations prior to him and had completely destroyed this country. The then Yetha ruler was extremely cruel, vindictive and Anti-Buddhist and had engaged in a three years border war with the king of Ki-pin (Cophene or Kapisa), disputing the boundaries of that country [See: Si-yu-ki, Buddhist Records of the Western World, 1906, p c (Introduction), Samuel Beal.] . The Yetha king referred to by Song Yun may have been Mihirakula (515 - 540/547AD) or his governor. This evidence also proves that the Kapisa kingdom was well-established prior to the Huna/Hephthalite invasion of Gandhara (~477 AD) and that it did not submit to the Yethas but had survived and continued to maintain its independence.

It is also a known fact [Proceedings and Transactions of the All-India Oriental Conference, 1930, p 108, Dr J. C. Vidyalankar (All-India Oriental Conference); The Cultural Heritage of India: Sri Ramakrishna Centenary Memorial, 1936, p 135, Dr S. K. Chatterjee, Sri Ramakrishna Centenary Committee.] of history that from second century BCE onwards (much prior to the Huna ascendancy), the Tukharas had settled in considerable numbers in the ancient Kamboja land [Bhartya Itihaas ki Ruprekha, p 534, Dr J. C. Vidyalankar; Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, pp 129, 300 Dr J. L. Kamboj.] and thus the culture of the Kambojas undoubtedly underwent some changes and due to the interaction of two cultures, the Kambojas of Kapisa were also substantially influenced by Tukharas [ Cf: The History and Culture of the Indian People, 1977, p 165 sqq, Dr Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Dr A. D. Pusalkar - India. ] [ It is also important to note that "History and Culture of Indian People", Vol II, and several other noted authorities identify Kapisa kingdom a part of ancient Kamboja Mahajanapada (See: The History and Culture of the Indian People, Vol II, 1977, p 122, Dr Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Dr Achut Dattatraya Pusalker, Dr Asoke Kumar Majumdar - India.] who remained quite for a time the ruling power in this region.

This fact is also verified by Hiuen Tsang who records that the literature, customary rules, and currency of Bamiyan were same as those of Tukhara; the spoken language is little different and in personal appearance the people closely resembled those of the Tukhara country. On the other hand, the literature and written language of Kapisa (=Kamboja) was like that of Tukharas but the social customs, colloquial ideom, rules of behavior (and their pesonal resemblance) differed somewhat from those of Tukhara country [ Si-yu-ki: Buddhist Records of the Western World, 1906 edition, pp 50, 54, Samuel Beal.] which means that the original and dominant community of Kapisa had imbibed the Tukharan culture and customs but to a limited extent and the penetration of the Tukharas in the Kapisa territory appears to have therefore been also limited. The Kambojas and the Tukharas (Turks) are mentioned as immediate neighbors in north-west as late as 8th century AD as Rajatarangini of Kalhana demonstrates [Rajatarangini 4.164-166.] .

Evidence also exists that some medieval age Muslim writers have confused the Kamboja clans of Pamirs/Hindukush with the Turks and invested the former with Turkic ethnicity. For example, 10th century Arab geographer Al-Muqaddasi, refers to the Kumiji ("=Kamoji/Kamboja") tribesmen of Buttaman mountains (Tajikstan) [For identification of Kumijis with Kambojas, see: India and Central Asia, p 25, Dr P. C. Bagchi; Prācīna Kamboja, Jana aur Janapada =: Ancient Kamboja, People and Country, 1981, pp 300, 401, Jiyālāla Kāmboja, Satyavrat Śāstrī. The tribal name Kumiji may also be compared to Camoji/Caumojee or Kamoje Kafir tribes of the Hindukush as referred to by Elphinstone ("An Account of the Kingdom of Caubul") and Kams/Kamoz as mentioned by George Scott Robertson ("The Kafirs of the Hindukush"). The Kafir tribes Kamojis/Kamozis of the Hindukush represent the relics of the Ancient Kambojas.

For Kamoj/Kamoji people of Hindukush and their relations with ancient Kambojas, See: Wishnu Purana, p 374, fn, H. H. Wilson; The Sun and the Serpent: A Contribution to the History of Serpent-worship, 1905, p 127,Charles Frederick Oldham; Peter weiss: Von existentialistischen Drama zum marxistischen Welttheater ..., 1971, Otto F. Best; Geographical and Economic Studies in the Mahābhārata: Upāyana Parva, 1945, p 131, Moti Chandra; The Living Age, 1873, p 781;Mountstuart Elphinstone, "An account of the kingdom of Caubol", fn p 619; Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, 1843, p 140; Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1874, p 260 fn; Die altpersischen Keilinschriften: Im Grundtexte mit Uebersetzung, Grammatik und Glossar, 1881, p 86, Friedrich Spiegel; Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 133, fn, Dr H. C. Raychaudhury, Dr B. N. Banerjee; The Achaemenids and India, 1974, p 13, Dr S Chattopadhyaya.] , on upper Oxus, and calls them of Turkic race [Quoted in: India and Central Asia, p 25, Dr P. C. Bagchi; The Achamenids in India, p 7 by Dr S. Chattopadhya, where the author identifies the Kambojas as of Turko-Iranian stock; Cf also: The Indian Historical Quarterly, 1963, p 192, India; Cf: Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona, 1928, pp 130,138, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, which connects the Kambhojas with Tartar ethnics.] [ Some writers have gone to the extent of designating these eleventh century Pamirian Kumijis (the remnants of ancient Kambojas of Pamirs/Hindukush) as extractions from the Hephthalites (See: History of Civilizations of Central Asia, 1999, p 102, Dr Ahmad Hasan Dani, Vadim Mikhaĭlovich Masson, János Harmatta, Boris Abramovich Litvinovskiĭ, Clifford Edmund Bosworth, Unesco - Asia, Central.] [ There are numerous references to Kambojas and Tukharas (Turukshakas) being bracketed together as allied tribes or as neighboring tribes located in Central Asia. See: Tukhara Kingdom.

The Tukharas/Tusharas had also joined the Kamboja army and fought the Kurukshetra war under the supreme command of Kamboja Sudakshina (MBH 5.19.21-23; The Nations of India at the Battle Between the Pandavas and Kauravas, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1908, pp 313, 331, Dr F. E. Pargiter, (See: Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland). As noted above, as late as 8th century AD, the Kambojas and Tukharas are attested to be immediate neighbors in around Oxus (Rajatarangini 4.164-166).] [ IMPORTANT COMMENT: As noted above, the Kambojas and the Tukharas/Turukshakas, for long time, had co-existed in the former Kamboja/Tukharistan country and thus, their culture, customs, mannerism and dress had become shared over the time.

Thus, it is but natural that some writers make mistakes in identifying these remnants of ancient Kambojas of the Pamirs/Hindukush with the Turks or the Hephthalites.] [ There are even some noted scholars who identify the Kambojas as a branch of the Tukharas (See for example: "Buddhism in Central Asia, 1987, p 90, Dr B. N. Puri - Buddhism").] . According to the confused accounts recorded by Alberuni which are chiefly based on folklore [ Tarikh-al-Hind, trans Sachau, 1910, vol ii, p 13, Abu Rihan Alberuni.] [The Pathans, 1958, pp 108-09, Olaf Caroe; Cf: Evolution of Heroic Tradition in Ancient Punjab, 1971, p 135, Dr Buddha Prakash.] [NOTE: Alberuni also records in "Tarikh-al-Hind" that the Kabul Shahi rulers claimed descent from Kanik (believed by some to be Kanishka of Kushana dynasty) and further also boast of their Tibetan origin (sic) ("See: Alberuni's Indica, A Record of the Cultural History of South Asia, 1973, p 38, Ahmad Hasan Dani, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Bīrūnī, Eduard Sachau; History of Mediaeval Hindu India, 1979, p 199, Chintaman Vinayak Vaidya; The Shahis of Afghanistan and the Punjab, 1973, p 51, D. B. Pandey").

Here it is interesting to note that there is numerous evidence that a branch of Kambojas was living in Tibet around fourth/fifth century AD as is evidenced by Brahma Purana (53.19). Many scholars like Charles Elliot, Dr Foucher, Dr G. G. Gokhale, V.A. Smith etc locate the Kambojas in Tibet. Nepalese traditions also apply name Kamboja-desa to Tibet (See refs: "Iconographie bouddhique, p 132); History of the Koch Kingdom, C. 1515-1615, 1989, P 10, D. Nath. Even otherwise also, the ancient Kambojas of Kafiristan are said to have extended as far as little Tibet and Ladak (See Refs: Peter weiss: Von existentialistischen Drama zum marxistischen Welttheater ..., 1971, Otto F. Best; The Devi Bhagavatam, Vol. 2 of 3, p 117, Swami Vijnanannanda; Historical Mahākāvyas in Sanskrit, Eleventh to Fifteenth Century A.D., 1976, 373, Chandra Prabha; Kāmarūpaśāsanāvalī, 1981, p 137,Dimbeswar Sarma, P. D. Chowdhury, R. K. Deva Sarma - Assam (India; Cf: The Early History of India, 1904, p 165, Vincent Arthur Smith"); The Khamba province of Tibet still carries the vestigiges of ancient Kamboja in it. The above tradition recorded by Alberuni may also go in favor of "Shahi origin from Tibetan Kambojas" rather than from Kushanas, Hunas or Turks.] , the last king of the first Shahi dynasty, Lagaturman ("Katorman") was overthrown and imprisoned by his Brahmin vizier Kallar, thus resulting in the change-over of dynasty.

The name ("Katorman or Lagaturman") of the last king of the so-called first Shahi line of Kabul/Kapisa simply reveals a trace of Tukhara cultural influence in the Kamboja (Kapisa) region, as hinted in above discussion. Thus, the first ruling dynasty of Kapisa and Kabul, designated as "Ksatriya" dynasty by Hiuen Tsang, may indeed have been a Kamboja dynasty [From the Grant Charters of Pala kings of Bengal, we learn that a Kamboja dynasty was ruling in Kabol valley in north-west India in 9th century AD. Pala king Devapala (reign 810-850 AD) had led his war expedition sometime after 810 AD against the Hunas (probably located south west Punjab...which probably formed a part of the kingdom of Zabulistan) and the Kambojas (probably Kabul/Kapisa Shahi dynasty), as is amply testified by Pala king Devapala’s Monghyr Charter (B-8, i.e: Kambojesu cha yasya vajiyuvbhih …kantashchiran dikshitah: see Epigraphia Indica, XVII p 305). These were the people who have also been known by different names like the Kabulis/Gandharas or Kambojas but they were of the Kamboja lineage/race, ethically speaking.] [ According to Sata-pañcāśaddesa-vibhaga of "Saktisamgma Tantra", Book III, Ch VII, v 24-28 (a medieval era Tantra text), the Kambojas are said to be located to west of South-west Kashmir (Pir-pañcāla ), to South of Bactria and to east of Maha-Mlechcha-desa (Mohammadan countries i.e Khorasan/Iran). Likewise verse 42-44 of the same reference locates the medieval era Huna-desa to the north of Maru-desa (Rajputana) and to the south of Kama-giri ("Kama hills") (See Ref: Geography of Ancient and Medieval India, 1971, p 100-102, 108, Dr D. C. Sircar).

The Kama/kamma is the name of hilly territory of eastern Afghanistan, lying between Jallabad and Khyber pass. Hence, the general location of Huna-desa may indeed have comprised south-western Punjab and parts of Southern and Central Afghanistan which territory again was same as the Zabulistan of Arab writers.] . It is also very remarkable that Kalhana (c. 12th century), the author of "Rajatarangini" (written in 1147-49 AD) also refers to the Shahis and does not maintain any any difference or distinction between the earlier Shahis (RT IV.143) and the later Shahis or does not refer to any supplanting of the dynasty at any stage as Alberuni does in his "Tarikh-al-Hind" [Refs: Studies in the Geography of Ancient and Medieval India, 1971, p 291, Dr D. C. Sircar; Hindu Sahis of Afghanistan and the Punjab, 1972, p 5, Yogendra Mishra.] . Furthermore, Kalhana takes the dynasty of the ancestors of the Hindu Shahi rulers Lallya (Kallar), Kamala Toramana, Bhimadeva, Jaipala, Anandapala, Trilochanpala, Bhimapala [ NOTE: Some scholars arbitrarily assume, without presenting any evidence that the line of Shahi princes with names ending in -pala represents a change-over in royal dynasty.

But this view is refuted by well-known examples of similar changes in royal names in the same family (See ref: The History and Culture of the Indian People, 1977, p 114, Dr Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Dr Achut Dattatrya Pusalker, Dr A. K. Majumdar - India). For instance, in the Pratihara dynasty of Kanauj, king Nagabhata I was followed by kings Kakkuka, Devaraja, Vatsaraja, Nagabhata II, Ramabhadra, Mihirabhoja, Mahendrapala, Bhoja II, Mahipala, Devapala, Vijayapala, Rajyapala etc. There was no change-over of dynasty here and all kings belonged to the same Pratihara royal family though there have been frequent changes in name endings.] etc.,unbroken, to as far as or earlier than 730 AD [Cf: Rajatrangini, IV, 140-43, Kalhana; Studies in the Geography of Ancient and Medieval India, 1971, p 292, 293, Dr D. C. Sircar.] . It is also remarkable that Rajatrangini and all other sources refer to the Shahi rulers of Udabhandapura/Waihind as belonging to the Kshatriya lineage [:Adyapi dyotate sahevahvayena digantare,:Tatsantana bhavonantah samuhah Ksatrajanamanam || ::(Kalahana's Rajatrangini, New Delhi, 1960, VIII, 3230, M. A. Stein (Editor).] [The Hindu Sahis of Afghanistan and the Punjab, A.D. 865-1026: A phase of Islamic advance into India, 1972, p 3, Yogendra Mishra; Cf: Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World, 2002, p 125-26, André Wink.] in contrast to Alberuni who designates the earlier Shahi rulers as Turks and the later as Brahmins [Dr D. C. Sircar: "It will be seen that the Kashmirian who knew the Shahis from before 730 AD down to 12th c AD regarded them as Ksatriyas, although Alberuni refers to the Hindu Shahis of Turko-Tibetan origin and their successors of Brahmana origin. That the early Shahis were regarded, inspite of foreign origin, as Ksatriyas in India is also indicated by another evidence. In 645 AD, when Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang was passing through the Uttarapatha, "Udabhanda or Udabhandapura" was the place of residence or secondary capital of emperor of Kapisa which then dominated over 10 neighboring states comprising Lampaka, Nagara, Gandhara and Varna (Bannu) and probably also Jaguda.

About Gandhara, the pilgrim says that its capital was Purushapura; the royal family was extinct and country was subject to Kapisa; the towns and villages were desolate and the inhabitants were very few. It seems that under pressure from Arabs in the southwest and the Turks in the north, the kings of Kapisa had left their western possessions in the hands of their viceroys and made Udabhanda their principal seat of residence. The reason why Udabhandapura was selected in preference to Peshawar is at present unknown but it is possible that the new city of Udabhanda was built by Kapisa rulers for strategic reasons (See: The Geography of Ancioent and Medieval India, 1971, p 292-93, Dr D. C. Sircar.] [ Dr D. C. Sircar continues: "The fact that Kalhana speaks of the Shahis with reference to the period earlier than that of Lalitaditya (c 730 - 66 AD) and of Udabhanda as the capital of the Shahis at least from the time of king Lalliya of Kashmir (C 875 - 90 AD) and that Chinese evidence refers to the city as the residence of the emperor of Kapisa about 645 AD would indicate that Hiuen Tsang's king of Kapisa was a Shahi ruler. It is very interesting that this king has been called by Hiuen Tsang as a Kshatriya (See: Udabhanda in The Geography of Ancient and Medieval India, 1971, p 293, Dr D. C. Sircar). ] [ It is a well known factFact|date=August 2008 that the religion of these non-Muslim chiefs of Kapisa/Kabul was originally Buddhism. Buddhism, Brahmanism and Naga-worship were all practiced among the population in the south of Hindukush, between Indus and river Kabul (See: The Pathans, 1958, p 101, Olaf Caroe). This is also verified by Hiuen Tsang who observed in 644 AD that the Shahi king of Kapisa kingdom was a devout Buddhist and belonged to the "Ksatriya" caste. Evidence also exists that with time, Buddhism lost its ground to Brahmanism in this very region, especially in the wake of the religious intenerary by Hindu Acharya Adi Shankara (788AD-820AD), who is said to have visited this kingdom and held religious seminars in Bahlika, Gandhara and Kamboja in north-west little before 820 AD. It is stated that he had defeated all the Buddhist monks of this region in the religious discourses and debates (See: Sankara-Dig-Vijaya: The Traditional Life of Sri Sankaracharya by Madhava-Vidyaranya, 2002, pp 160-185, Swami, Tapasyananda, India: Sri Ramakrishna Math (ISBN 81-7120-434-1).

Thus, we can notice a downfall of Buddhism and revivalism of the Brahmanical faith in the Kamboja/Gandhara region soon after 820 AD. Alberuni's reference to the supplanting of the Kabul Shahi dynasty in about 870 AD by Brahmin called Kallar may actually imply that the religious faith of the royal family had changed from Buddhism to Brahmanism by about 870 AD and it might not have actually involved any physical supplanting of the existing Kabul Shahi dynasty as is stated by Alberuni whose account of early Shahis is indeed is based on telltale stories. Since the change of Shahi capital from Kabul to Waihind or Uddhabhandapura had also occurred precisely around this period, it is probable that the narrator of the folklore/tellatale to Alberuni had confused the "change of capital" issue with the "supplanting of Kabul Shahi dynasty" since the incidence of shift had occurred remotely about 200 years prior to Alberuni's writing (1030 AD). There is no doubt, as the scholars also admit, that the change in dynasty is effected by "a common legend of eastern story", which sure bears the express mark of folklore for the previous history of Kabul Shahis, hence obviously speculative and not much worthy of serious history.] [Note: "No systematic excavation of the area has so far been made in the Kabul Shahi realm, but the sporadic finds made in the region affirm the spread of Hindu influence at the cost of Buddhism during the period spanning 600-900 AD.

The replacement of Buddhist kingship with Brahmanical kingship around 870 AD seems to symbolize the Brahmanization of the so-called Turk kings as well as the population south of the Hindukush. A brahmanised king named Kallar started the so-called Hindu Shahi dynasty of Gandhara" (Cf: The Afghans, 2002, p 183, W Vogelsang; See also Article: The Pal Kings of Bengal in "Calcutta Review, June 1874, p 96, E Vesey Westmacott, Bengal Civil Service, Bengal Asiatic Society of Royal Asiatic Society, F. R. G. S).] . "The system of naming the kings of the so-called Turki Shahi dynasty and the Hindu Shahi dynasty is also similar for which reason it is very likely that the caste of the two might also have been same i.e Ksatriya " [Hindu Sahis of Afghanistan and the Punjab, 1972, p 5, Yogendra Mishra.] . Thus, if we follow Kalhana, "then the ancestors of Shahi kings Lallya, Toramana, Kamalu, Bhimadeva, Jaipala, Anandapala, Trilochanapala etc may be traced back to the Ksatriya ruler of Kapisa/Kabul (644-45 AD) mentioned by Hiuen Tsang and also probably to prince Guna Varman (424 AD), a princely scion of the Ksatriya rulers ruling at the start of 5th century in Kapisa ("Ki-pin") as mentioned in the Chinese Buddhist records" [ For Chinese Buddhist records referencing Guna Varman, see reference: J.R.A.S., April, 1903, p 369, M. Anesaki.] . In addition, one ancient inscription and several ancient Buddhist manuscripts found from Gilgit area between upper Indus and river Kabul shed some light on three kings who ruled in Gilgit region in 6-7th c AD. They also wore Shahi titles and their names are mentioned as "Patoladeva alias Navasurendradiyta Nandin", "Srideva alias Surendra Vikrmadiyta Nandin" and "Patoladeva alias Vajraditya Nandin". It is very relevant to mention here that each of the Shahi rulers mentioned in the above list of Gilgit rulers has Nandin as his surname or last name [The Shahis of Afghanistan and the Punjab, 1973, p 1, Dr Deena Bandhu Pandey.] . It is more than likely that the surname Nandin refers to their clan name. It is also very remarkable that the modern Kamboj tribe of northern Punjab still has Nandan (Nandin) as one of their important clan names.

It is therefore, very likely that these Gilgit rulers of upper Indus may also have belonged to the Kamboja lineage [ The former Kafirs like Aspins of Chitral and Ashkuns or Yashkuns of Gilgit are identified as the modern representives of the Paninian Aśvakayanas ("Greek: Assakenoi"); and the Asip/Isap or Yusufzai (from "Aspa.zai") in the Kabul valley (between river Kabul and Indus) are believed to be modern representatives of the Paninian Aśvayanas ("Greek: Aspasioi") respectively (See: The Quarterly Review, 1873, p 537, William Gifford, George Walter Prothero, John Gibson Lockhart, John Murray, Whitwell Elwin, John Taylor Coleridge, Rowland Edmund Prothero Ernle, William Macpherson, William Smith; "An Inquiry Into the Ethnography of Afghanistan", 1893, p 75, Henry Walter Bellew; Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1864, p 681, by Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland; The Invasion of India by Alexander the Great, 1896, p 334, John Watson M'Crindle; Evolution of Heroic Tradition in Ancient Panjab, 1971, p 72; History of Punjab, Publication Bureau Punjabi University Patiala, 1997, p 225, Dr Buddha Prakash; A Comprehensive History of India, Vol II, p 118, Dr Nilkantha Shastri; See also: Ancient Kamboja, People & the Country, 1981, p 278, These Kamboj People, 1979, pp 119-20, K. S. Dardi etc.] [NOTE: The Aspasios and Assaekoi clans of Kunar/Swat valleys are stated to be sub-sections of the Kambojas who were especially engaged in horse-culture and were expert horsemen ("Asva.yuddhah-kushalah"). See: Ashvakas. See also: Mahabharata 12.101.5, Kumbhakonam Ed.; See also: Hindu Polity, 1955, p 140, Dr K. P. Jayswal).] . Furthermore, "Shahi" as a septal name is still carried by a section of the Punjab Kambojs which appears to be a relic from the Shahi title of their Kabul/Kapisa princes [ See: Glossary of Tribes and Castes of Punjab and North West Frontier Province, 1910, Voll III, p 524, H. A. Rose.] .


In conclusion, it appears more than likely that, rather than the Kushanas or Hunas or the Turks, the Shahi rulers of Kabul/Kapisa and Gandhara had a descent from the native warlike Ksatriya clans of the Kambojas known as Ashvakas (q.v.), who in the fourth century BCE, had offered stubborn resistance to Macedonian invader, Alexander the Great and later, had helped Chandragupta Maurya found the Mauryan empire of India [Mudrarakshasa act II; History of Poros, 1967, p 89, Dr Buddha Prakash.] .

They were the same bold and warlike people whom king Asoka Maurya had thought it wise and expedient to "bestow autonomous status" [A History of Zoroastrianism, 1991, p 136, Mary Boyce, Frantz Grenet; Mauryan Samrajya Ka Itihaas, Hindi, , 1927, p 665-67 by Dr. Sataketu Vidyalankar; Hindu Polity, A Constitutional History of India in Hindu Times, 1978, p 117-121, Dr K. P. Jayswal; Ancient India, 2003, pp 839-40, Dr V. D. Mahajan; Northern India, p 42, Dr Mehta Vasisitha Dev Mohan etc.] and give eminent place in his Rock Edicts V and XIII.

They were fiercely independent warlike people who had never easily yielded to any foreign overlord [History of Punjab, Vol I, 1997, p 225, Dr Buddha Prakash; Raja Poros, 1990, p 9, Publication Bureau, Punjabi University Patiala.] . They were the people who, in fifth c AD, had formed the very neighbors of the Bactrian Ephthalites of Oxus and whom Chandragupta II of Gupta dynasty had campaigned against and had obtained tribute from about the start of 5th century AD [Raghuvamsa, 4.67-70, Kalidasa.] . The "Bhishma Parva" of the "Mahabharata", supposed to have been edited around the 4th or 5th century AD, in one of its verses mentions the Hunas with the Parasikas and other "Mlechha tribes" of the northwest including the Kambojas, Yavanas, Chinas, Darunas, Sukritvahas, Kulatthas etc [:HrishIvidarbhah kantikasta~Nganah parata~Nganah. | :uttarashchapare mlechchhA jana bharatasattama. || 63 |
:YavanAshcha sa Kamboja Daruna mlechchha jatayah.
:Sakahaddruhah Kuntalashcha Hunah Parasikas saha.|| 64 |
:Tathaiva maradhAahchinastathaiva dasha malikah. | :Kshatriyopaniveshashcha vaishyashudra kulani cha.|| 65 |
::(Mahabharata 6.9.63-65) .
] .

Dr V. A. Smith says that this epic verse is reminiscent of the times when the Hunas first came into contact with the Sassanian dynasty of Persia [Early History of India, p 339, Dr V. A. Smith; See also Early Empire of Central Asia (1939), W. M. McGovern.] . And the Monghyr grant of king Devapala of the Pala dynasty of Bengal attests that the great king had led his war expedition (810 AD - 850 AD) into the northwest against the Hunas (in western Punjab) and then the Kambojas (in the Kabul/Gandhara valleys) [Devapala’s Monghyr Charter (B-8),Epigraphia Indica, XVII p 305; The History of the Gurjara-Pratihāras, 1957, p 62, Dr B. N. Puri; Ancient India, 2003, p 650, Dr V. D. Mahajan; History and Culture of Indian People, The Age of Imperial Kanauj, p 50, Dr R. C. Majumdar, Dr A. D. Pusalkar.] . Sata-pañcāśaddesa-vibhaga of the medieval era Tantra book "Saktisamgma Tantra" [Book III, Ch VII, v 24-28.] locates Kambojas ("Kabul Shahis"?) to the west of South-west Kashmir (or Pir-pañcāla), to the South of Bactria and to the east of "Maha-Mlechcha-desa" (="Mohammadan countries" i.e Khorasan/Iran) and likewise, locates the Hunas ("Zabul Shahis"?) to the south of Kama valley ("or Jallalabad/Afghnaistan") and to the north of Marudesa (or Rajputana) towards western Punjab [Book III, Ch VII, v 42-44.] .

Kavyamimasa of Rajshekhar also lists the "Sakas, Kekayas, Kambojas, Vanayujas, Bahlikas, Hunas, Pahlvas, Limpakas, Harahuras, Hansmaragas (Hunzas) etc " [Raj Shekhar Chapter 17, Kavy Mimansa.] in the north-west. Since Rajshekhar (880-920 AD) was contemporary with Hindu Shahis, he identifies people called "Kambojas (Kabul/Kapisa), Vanayujas (Bannus), Limpakas (Lamghanis), Hunas (Zabul), Pahlvas (Persians--Maha-mlechchas), Harahuras (Red Hunas "located in Herat")" etc almost exactly in the same localities which were occupied by "Kabul Shahi" and "Zabul Shahi" kingdoms respectively. The above referred to pieces of evidence again spotlight on the Kambojas and the Hunas together and places them near the environs of the Muslim Persians in north-west. During first century AD and later in 5th century (~477 AD), the cis-Hindukush Kambojas and Gandharas partially came under the sway of foreign invaders like the Kushanas and the Hephthalites (Hunas).

These warlike people were temporarily overpowered by the numerous hordes but they did not become extinct; and once the political tide of the foreign hordes ebbed down, "someone from the native chieftains from the original dominant clans (i.e. the Ksatrya Ashvakas) of this region asserted his authority and attained ascendancy in political power and had established himself as Ksatriya overlord of an independent kingdom on the ruins of the erstwhile Kushana and/or the Hephthalites empire" [Cf: The Sun and the Serpent: A Contribution to the History of Serpent-worship, 1905, p 125, Charles Frederick.] . Having been exposed to the foreign environs for a while and having also, in a sense, inherited the Kushana-Hephthalite chancery tradition of their predecessors, these native Kabul/Kapisa native rulers had also adopted their political institutions and regal titles such as "shahi" and "tegin" etc in the same way as the Sakas, Kushanas and Hunas had earlier adopted a form of Kshayatiya title from their predecessors, the Achamenids of Persia. The Shahis of Afghanistan have specifically been connected to the Kamboja race by E Vesey Westmacott [See Article: The Pal Kings of Bengal in "Calcutta Review, June 1874, pp 74, 95, 96, E Vesey Westmacott, Bengal Civil Service, Bengal Asiatic Society of Royal Asiatic Society, F. R. G. S).] .

Hindu Shahi

The first Hindu Shahi dynasty was founded in 870 AD by Kallar (see above). The kingdom was bounded on the north by the Hindu kingdom of Kashmir, on the east by Rajput kingdoms, on the south by the Muslim Emirates of Multan and Mansura, and on the west by the Rashidun Caliphate. In 671 AD Muslim armies seized Kabul and the capital was moved to "Udabhandapura" [ Modern day Und, also called "Waihind" by Al Biruni. (Wink pg. 125)] , where they became known as the "Rajas of Hindustan".

The Hindu Shahi's became engaged with the Yamini Turks of Ghazni [ The Ghaznavids or "Turushkas" by Kalhana.] over supremacy of the eastern regions of Afghanistan initially before it extended towards the Punjab region. They briefly recaptured the Kabul Valley from the Samanid successors of the Saffarids, until a general named Alptigin drove out the Samanid "wali" of Zabulistan and established the Ghaznavid dynasty at Ghazna. Wink, pg 125-126] Under his general and successor Sabuktigin the Ghaznavids had begun to raid the provinces of Lamghan [ This was the westernmost extent of the Hindu Shahi, and last foothold in the Kabul/ Gandhara region. (Wink. pg. 125-126)] and Multan. This precipated an alliance first between the then King Jayapala and the Amirs of Multan, and then in a second battle in alliance with Delhi, Ajmer, Kalinjar and Kannauj which saw the Hindu Shahi lose all lands west of the Indus River. His successor Anandapala arrived at a tributary arrangement with Sebuktigin's successor, Mahmud of Ghazni, before he was defeated and exiled to Kashmir in the early 1000s.

Al-Idirisi (1100 AD -1165/1166 AD) testifies that until as late as the 12th century, a contract of investiture for every Shahi king was performed at Kabul and that here he was obliged to agree to certain ancient conditions which completed the contract [ Al-Idrisi, p 67, Maqbul Ahmed; Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic World, 1991, p 127, Andre Wink.] . Kalhana remarked: "To this day, the appellation Shahi throws its lustre on a numberless host of kshatriya abroad who trace their origin to that family" [Kalhana's Rajatangini, VIII, 3230; Evolution of Heroic Tradition in Ancient Punjab, 1971, p 147, Dr Buddha Prakash.] .


The Hindu Shahi, a term used by history writer Al-Biruni [Kalhana Rajatarangini referred to them as simply "Shahi" and inscriptions refer to them as "sahi".(Wink, pg 125)] to refer to the ruling Hindu dynasty [Al Biruni refers to the subsequent rulers as "Brahman kings" however most other references such as Kalahan refer to them as kshatriyas. (Wink, pg 125)] that took over from the "Turki Shahi" and ruled the region during the period prior to Muslim conquests of the tenth and eleventh centuries.

The term "Hindu Shahi" was a royal title of this dynasty and not its actual clan or ethnological name. Al-Biruni used the title "Shah" for many other contemporary royal houses in his descriptions as well. ("Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society, xxxvi, Dr N Ahmad, 1988, i, NWF Regions of Pakistan Geographical tribes and Historical perspective, p53)

Historical Record

Archeological sites of the period, including a major Hindu Shahi temple north of Kabul and a chapel in Ghazni, contain both the pre-dominant Buddhist and Hindu statuary, suggesting that there was a close interaction between the two religions.

When the Chinese visitor Hsuan-tsang visited Kapisa (about 60 km north of modern Kabul) in 7th century, the local ruler was a Kshatriya king Shahi Khingala. A Ganesha idol has been found near Gerdez that bears the name of this king, see [ Shahi Ganesha] .

Several 6th or 7th century A.D Buddhist manuscripts were found out from a stupa at Gilgit. One of the manuscripts reveals the name of a Shahi king Srideva Sahi Surendra Vikramaditya Nanda. See [ Gilgit Manuscripts]


The kings of Kashmir were related to the Shahis through marital and political alliance. Didda, a famous queen of Kashmir was a granddaughter of the Brahmin Shahi Bhima, who was married to Kshema Gupta (r. 951 - 959). Bhima had visited Kashmir and built the temple Bhima Keshava.

The initial Hindu Shahi dynasty, was the House of Kallar, but in 964 AD the rule was assumed from Bhima upon his death by the Janjua emperor Maharajadiraja Jayapala, son of Rai Asatapala Janjua and a descendant of Emperor Janamejaya ("Coins of Medieval India", A.Cunningham, London, 1894, p56, p62, 'The Last Two Dynasties of The Sahis", A Rehman, 1988, Delhi, p131, p48, p49, p3001, "Chronicles of Early Janjuas" Dr H.Khan, 2003 iUniverse, p3, p5, p8, p9). Epithets from the Bari Kot inscriptions record his full title as " "Parambhattaraka Maharajadhiraja Paramesvara Sri Jayapala deva"' " the first Emperor of the Janjua Shahi phase. He is celebrated as a hero in his struggles in defending his Kingdom from the Turkic rulers of Ghazni.

Emperor Jayapala was challenged by the armies of Sultan Sabuktigin and later by his son Sultan Mahmud. According to the "Minháj ad-Dīn" in his chronicle "Tabaqát-i Násiri" (H. G. Raverty's trans., Vol.1, p.82), he bears a testament to the political and powerful stature of Maharaja Jayapala Shah, "Jayapála, who is the greatest of all the ráis (kings) of Hind..." Misra wrote on Jaypala: "(He) was perhaps the last Indian ruler to show such spirit of aggression, so sadly lacking in later Rajput kings." ("Indian Resistance to Early Muslim Invaders Up to 1206 AD", R.G Misra, Anu Books, repr.1992)

Prince Anandapala who ascended his father's throne (in about March/April 1002AD) already proved an able warrior and General in leading many battles prior to his ascension. According to 'Adáb al-Harb' (pp.307-10) in about 990, it is written, "the arrogant but ambitious Raja of Lahore Bharat, having put his father in confinement, marched on the country of Jayapála with the intention of conquering the districts of Nandana, Jailum (Jehlum) and Tákeshar" (in an attempt to take advantage of Jayapala's concentrated effort with defence against the armies of Ghazna). "Jayapala instructed Prince Anandapala to repel the opportunist Raja Bharat. Anandapala defeated Bharat and took him prisoner in the battle of Takeshar and marched on Lahore and captured the city and extended his father's kingdom yet further." However, during his reign as emperor many losses were incurred on his kingdom by the Ghaznavids. During the battle of Chach between Mahmud and Anandapala, it is stated that "a body of 30,000 Gakhars fought alongside as soldiers for the Shahi Emperor and incurred huge losses for the Ghaznavids" . However, despite the heavy losses of the enemy, he lost the battle and suffered much financial and territorial loss. This was Anandapala's last stand against Sultan Mahmud. He eventually signed a treaty with the Ghaznavid empire in 1010AD and shortly a year later passed away a peaceful death. R.C Majumdar (D.V. "Potdar Commemoration Volume", Poona 1950, p.351) compared him ironically to his dynastic ancient famous ancestor "King Porus, who bravely opposed Alexander but later submitted and helped in subduing other Indian rulers". And "Tahqíq Má li'l-Hind" (p.351) finally revered him in his legacy as " "noble and courageous" ".

Prince Tirlochanpála, the son of Anandapala, ascended the Imperial throne in about 1011AD. Inheriting a reduced kingdom, he immediately set about expanding his kingdom into the Siwalik Hills, the domain of the "Rai of Sharwa." His kingdom now extended from the River Indus to the upper Ganges valley. According to Al-Biruni, Tirlochanpála "was well inclined towards the Muslims (Ghaznavids)" and was honourable in his loyalty to his father's peace treaty to the Ghaznavids. He eventually rebelled against Sultan Mahmud and was later assassinated by some of his own mutinous troops in 1021-22AD, an assassination which was believed to have been instigated by the "Rai of Sharwa" who became his arch-enemy due to Tirlochanpala's expansion into the Siwalik ranges. He was romanticised in Punjabi folklore as "the Last Punjabi ruler of Punjab".

Prince Bhímapála, son of Tirlochanpala, succeeded his father in 1021-22AD. He was referred to by Utbí as "Bhīm, the Fearless" due to his courage and valour. Considering his kingdom was at its lowest point, possibly only the control of Nandana, he admirably earned the title of "fearless" from his enemy's own chronicle writer. He is known to have led the battle of Nandana personally and seriously wounding the commander of the Ghaznavid army Muhammad bin Ibrahim at-Tāī ('Utbi, vil.ii, p.151.) He ruled only five years after his father before meeting his death in 1026AD. He was final Shahi Emperor of the famed dynasty.

His sons Rudrapal, Diddapal, Kshempala and Anangpala served as generals in Kashmir.They gained prominence in the Kashmiri Royal court where they occupied influential positions and intermarried with the royal family. They are mentioned frequently in Rajatarangini of Kalhana written during 1147-1149. Rudrapal was mentioned by the writer Kalhana as a valiant general in the campaigns he led to quell resistance to the Kashmiran kings to whom they served whilst in exile. His later descendants fell out of the favour of the royal court were exiled to the Siwalik Hills retaining control of the Mandu fort. After a brief period, they rose again to take control of Mathura under Raja Dhrupet Dev in the 12th century before the campaigns of the Ghorid Empire.

Alberuni, in spite of the fact that he lived under Mahmud, praises the Shahis:
"The Hindu Shahiya dynasty is extinct and of the whole house there is not the slightest remnant in existence. We must say that in all their grandeur, they never slackened in the ardent desire of doing that which is good and right, that they were men of noble sentiment and noble bearing."

Kalhana writes about the sad fate of the Shahis:
"Where is the Shahi dynasty with its ministers, its kings, and its great grandeur? ... The very name of the splendor of Shahi kings has vanished. What is not seen in dream, what even our imagination cannot conceive, that dynasty accomplished with ease"

The Janjua Rajputs of Punjab are the descendants of the "House of Jayapala" ("Chronicles of Early Janjuas", 2003, iUniverse, Dr H Khan, p2-10) ("Coins of Medieval India", A.Cunningham, London, 1894, p56, p62) (""The Last Two Dynasties of The Sahis", A Rehman, 1988, Delhi, p131,p48, p49)("Gazeteer of the Jhelum District", Lahore, 1904, p93)

hahi rulers

* Khingala of Kapisa (7th c.)
* Patoladeva alias Navasurendradiyta Nandin of Gilgit (6-7th c.)
* Srideva alias Surendra Vikrmadiyta Nandin of Gilgit (6-7th c.)
* Patoladeva alias Vajraditya Nandin of Gilgit (6-7th c.)
* Kallar alias Lalliya (c. 890-895) of Kabul
* Kamaluka (895-921)
* Bhima (921-964), son of Kamaluka
* Ishtthapala (?)
* Jayapala (964-1001)
* Anandapala (1001-c.1010), son of Jayapala
* Trilochanapala (ruled c.1010-1021-22; assassinated by mutinous troops)
* Bhímapála (died in 1022-1026)

ee also

* List of Indian monarchs
* Pre-Islamic period of Afghanistan (Before 650 AD)
* Kushanshas or Indo-Sassanians
* Hephthalites
* Kushano-Hephthalite or Kabul Turk-Shahi Dynasty (565-870 AD)
* Janjua
* Gandhara



* Wink, Andre,"Al Hind the Making of the Indo Islamic World", Brill Academic Publishers, Jan 1, 1996, ISBN 90-04-09249-8
* [] Coinage of the Hindu Shahi period from Mardan, Pakistan. Treasures of Kashmir Smast.

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